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Gunter: Trump must back ITC to stop South Koreans unplugging U.S. appliance industry

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Samsung and LG, who are Korean corporate giants in the appliance and consumer electronic industry, have each pledged large investments in the United States. But a new report from the International Trade Commission casts doubt on whether they’ll follow through unless economic safeguards are implemented.

These investments would come in the form of two home appliance manufacturing plants — a $380 million Samsung factory in South Carolina and a $250 million LG factory in Tennessee.

While the commission’s report acknowledges that the communities housing these plants  would eventually benefit, it concedes that without safeguard relief, these investments might not be fully realized.

Trending: WATCH: Joe Biden Reads Teleprompter Incorrectly: “I Got to the Senate 180 Years Ago”

“In the absence of safeguard relief, however, LG and Samsung would have less of an economic incentive to follow through fully on their planned investments, particularly in light of their substantial recent investments in LRW production for the U.S. market in Thailand and Vietnam,” the ITC report states.

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Without economic protections in place, more and more companies may choose to move their operations abroad. In a recent example, Mondelez, Rexnord and Brake Parts Inc. relocated their manufacturing operations from the United States to Mexico — taking full advantage of low labor costs and lax regulations.

An exodus of American manufacturing is completely unacceptable.

In order to provide “safeguard relief,” the ITC’s report recommended that a graduated tariff be placed on all imports of washing machines above a 1.2 million unit threshold. Initially, the tariff would start at 50 percent, decreasing to 40 percent by the tariff’s third year.

Proponents of global free trade might balk at such a measure, citing a level playing field for all. However, Samsung and LG already have unfair advantages over their competition in the United States.

In one instance, South Korea’s central government gave Samsung a direct subsidy of $155 million, violating international trade law and giving the corporation a significant advantage over its competitors.

If the economic measures recommended by the ITC were enacted, corporations like Samsung and LG would have a greater incentive to invest in American manufacturing — providing more jobs for American workers.

Additionally, the United States currently has a trade deficit of $19.8 billion with South Korea. Countering unfair behavior by South Korean firms would dramatically help bring the trade deficit into balance.

President Donald J. Trump is expected to make a decision on implementing the graduated tariff by early 2018. Should he cooperate with the office of the United States Trade Representative to enact the ITC’s recommendation, it would certainly fulfill his “America First” campaign promise.

Otherwise, if economic protections are not established, more and more companies may choose to move their operations overseas.

 

Big League Economics

SHAME: Democrats Are Blocking Stimulus Legislation That Includes Second $1,200 TrumpBux Check

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Democrats in Congress are blocking a bipartisan $1.5 trillion stimulus package that includes a second round of $1,200 TrumpBux payments to Americans.

Leading House Democrats are saying the bill isn’t big enough of a giveaway, but they favor stimulus measures that would divert funds away from the pockets of everyday Americans to institutions. They want to bail out Democrat state and local governments, and are willing to block TrumpBux payments to Americans if they aren’t allowed to.

The House passed a $3.4 trillion stimulus package in May that was shot down by Senate Republicans. The latest $1.4 stimulus legislation has been presented as a compromise, after House Democrats in turn rejected a thin $500 billion stimulus package proposed by Republicans last week. That package did not include a second round of $1,200 payments, and Republicans are now willing to sign off on another TrumpBux payment in order to pass another round of stimulus.

The $1.5 trillion stimulus legislation emerged from the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats who emphasize bipartisanship and common ground. Aside from TrumpBux 2, it features $500 billion for cities and states, unemployment insurance of $600 a week, increased SNAP benefits and rental assistance.

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Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi are claiming the legislation doesn’t go far enough and that it “leaves too many needs unmet.”

Pelosi and House Democrats are insisting that Congress will remain in session until a second stimulus agreement is met, but in rejecting the Problem Solvers Caucus legislation they’re already shown they’re not open to a generous compromise.

Try asking everyday working Americans of all stripes and walks of life if they’re willing to wait or even go without a second $1,200 stimulus payment in order to provide a bigger bailout to states and cities that already engage in questionable budgetary practices to begin with. The Democrats are resolutely determined to avoid making people the priority in  a stimulus package, and will block stimulus legislation to do so.

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